No notable spike in cannabis intoxication among children in Sask. after legalization

They are likely too young to know what it is and that’s part of the problem. In October, when recreational cannabis became legal in Canada,   there was a forecast fear among health care providers there would be a spike in the number of children who might unintentionally ingest marijuana.

“A high concentration of a drug like this can be dangerous for children,” said Dr. Johnmark Opondo with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.


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In some cases the drug could be lethal to a child said Opondo, which is something cannabis retailers say they take very seriously.

Kiaro – 212 20th Street W, Riversdale

At Kiaro, a new legal pot shop on 20th in Saskatoon – Andrew Gordon said the aim of staff is to educate cannabis consumers to be responsible consumers during the purchasing process.

“That means safe and secure storage at home. We have information, resources and tools available to them to make sure they can do that successfully,” said the senior vice-president of community engagement.

“Canada has taken a very cautious and tiered approach to the roll out of a lot of these products as well.”

According to one study in parts of the United States where pot had become legal – cannabis-intoxication involving children increased by 30 per cent each year from 2005 to 2011.

Pediatric Inpatient Unit at Royal University Hospital.

In 2018, Saskatchewan’s Poison Control Centre received 8,900 calls from both the public and health care professionals.


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Approximately, 70 of those calls were related to marijuana and 10 involved children aged five or younger. Half the calls involving youth were placed before legalization and there has not been a notable increase in association with the drug’s legalization.

“We’re glad that the numbers are not up but what does that data show you?” Opondo questioned.

“It may just show you that people have been using cannabis for awhile and that people that who are more likely to use the legit market were probably people who were already users – it would be worth exploring.”

Cannabis harvested at the CannTrust Niagara Greenhouse Facility in Fenwick, Ont., is photographed on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin

Last year, 388,456 calls were transferred to Sask911. According to the Ministry of Health, the number of calls related to children exposed to marijuana aren’t tracked by Sask911.


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Nonetheless, Opondo said he hopes adults will continue to safely store their products especially when edibles are introduced sometime this year – since they can often look like sweet treats to children.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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